I remember the very first day I tried fennel.
My Mom and I were combing the isles at Safeway looking for ingredients to inspire us. Have you ever done that? Just gone to the grocery store and walked the isles hoping that something will pop out at you? So, we fall upon a big, fresh head of fennel in the produce section; head, bushel, I’m not sure what they call it, and Mom gets an idea to mix the fennel with carrots and make a soup out of it. I’d never seen the large onion-looking thing, but after one sniff of it’s licorice smelling stalks, I agreed with her.
15 years later, and I’m still loving every chance I get to cook with fennel. The aroma, the crunch, the versatility. It’s all there, and then some. Plus, fennel is super good for you, too!
It’s strange, even though I rarely saw my family when we lived in Alberta, knowing that I’m really far away now just makes me miss them. During a recent trip to the grocery store on a day that I was particularly sad and missing home, I picked up 3 heads of fennel and made a batch of my Mom’s carrot and fennel soup. It was warm, comforting, and reminded me of home. Just what I needed to get myself out of the homesick slump.
After that, I made pasta. Lots of it.
I’ve always thought that pasta salad should be reserved for Summer, but this salad with it’s smokey sausages and sauteed onions is anything but Summer. It’s warming, snuggle on the couch and watch a movie type of food. I don’t know about you, but that’s not an activity I enjoy in the Summer.
Paired with DeLallo gluten-free brown rice pasta; my new favorite gluten-free pasta to cook with, and you have one incredible Fall meal to share with the family. The great thing about DeLallo gluten-free pastas is that it doesn’t get that strange crunch, stale-like quality after it’s been refrigerated. If you’ve made pasta salad with gluten-free pasta, you know exactly what I mean.
Without further adieu, let’s get this (fennel) party started!
This recipe was developed for DeLallo Foods and is featured in the DeLallo gluten-free recipe archives.
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 bulb fennel, sliced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 2 cooked lean gluten-free chicken sausages, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
- 200 grams (2 cups) DeLallo brown rice fusilli pasta
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free Dijon mustard
- Zest from half a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- Place fennel seeds in a large saucepan with 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Heat on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes until toasted, rotating with a wooden spoon every 20 seconds.
- Add sliced fennel and onion. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, rotating every 2 minutes. Add sliced sausage and remove from heat. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, fill a medium-sized saucepan with water, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add ¼ teaspoon of salt and fussili pasta. Cover and bring back to a boil, then remove cover and cook for 6 minutes, al dente. Strain and rinse pasta. Set aside to cool.
- Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds, until oil is emulsified.
- Place cooked fennel, pasta and dressing in a large bowl and stir to coat. Add in chopped parsley and serve.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Fennel seeds are just as tasty as the full bulb. Be sure to toast these in the oil before adding the sliced fennel and onion. Many sausages are made with fennel, so the flavors will naturally go really well with one another.
Saute the fennel until it’s slightly brown.
Add the sliced sausage, and move the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine.
Then, pour in the homemade vinaigrette (which is also really fabulous on it’s own if you want to make a double batch and keep it for salads and veggies).
Toss the mixture with parsley, and you’re ready to go!
I served our salads warm with a side of garlic toast for Kevin and an extra large amount of sausages for me :)
The opinions expressed herein are those of Healthful Pursuit and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of DeLallo Foods.